Dear Mom, There weren't any cliffs in the flat part of the Midwest where you and dad raised me. But that didn't stop you from warning me of the folly of following others over a cliff.
"Don't do foolish things just because others are doing it," you said. "If Norman (or Michael, Wayne or Willie) jumps off a cliff, would you?"
And there were your other endless warnings to shun all manner of fun things, from slingshots and dirt bombs to BB guns and wall sockets.
Thanks to you, Mom, I'm alive today (never found a cliff); have two working eyes (though near-sighted as heck); never got the daylight knocked out of me (though I have seen stars); and only once nearly electrocuted myself (never told you about that, but the jolt gave credence to all you said.)
So thanks, Mom, for all those warnings.
Still Mom, there's one thing you never warned me about. Something more dangerous than cliffs, slingshots, dirtbombs, BB guns and wall outlets. Something that threatens all Americans.
I'm talking Tea Monsters, Mom. Yes. The 30 or so of them in Congress who are terrorizing the nation. Remember when I would wake up in the middle of the night after a bad dream and you'd tell me the monsters were gone. Well, you never told me they moved to Washington and would show up as far-right Republicans, terrorizing fellow Republicans and shutting down the government.
It's 50 years later, Mom, and your grown-up son remains as curious as all get up.
"Welcome to the Tea Party Command Center," said one tea party website.
"Estimated 8.7 million tea drinkers," said another.
Forgive me\, mom. I just gotta know what's in the tea bags that those 30 Tea Monsters in Congress are making their follow Republican Party members drink and that's got them scared as the dickens to challenge them.
I mean, really Mom. Those Tea Monsters seem to be scaring the daylight out of the Republicans and their tearful leader to the point they are more fearful of them than they are of the consequences their teabag ideology has on everyday Americans.
"Live free or die trying," said another tea party site.
I see the cliff, Mom. Everybody sees it. But these Tea Monsters are determined to tie a rope around the whole country and take us with them.
"Our mission is to bring awareness to any issue which challenges the security, sovereign or domestic tranquility of our beloved nation," said another site.
Seriously, Mom. The Tea Monsters have left the circus and taken the three rings with them. They alone have done more to challenge and threaten the security and tranquility of this nation with their tea bag philosophy.
"We are color blind because we are every color of the rainbow, black, white , brown, yellow and every color in between," said another site.
Come on Mom. I know it's funny, but get up off the floor. No, I can't say I know a single black person who's a member, either. Haven't even seen any on TV. Yep. There's a reason for that. They remind you of the folks who fought against civil rights.
"God bless America," said another tea party site.
Gee, mom. On the one hand they talk about God and on the other they do devilish things. Love of country? Their hate for Obama is greater than their love for their country. I know you say we should pray for them, but I kind of wish they would go straight to …
Anyway, Mom. I realize you couldn't warn me about every dangerous, crazy possibility in life. Some things just take common sense, good judgment and intestinal fortitude.
At some point this will be over. The Tea Monsters will go away as monsters, bullies and tyrants do when good people stand up to them.
Here's to hoping the good people stand up to the Tea Monsters.
Anyway, be well. Say "hi" to dad and Aunt Hazel and Kae-Kae.
Frank Harris III of Hamden is a professor of journalism at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. His email address is email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at fh3franktalk.Copyright © 2015, CT Now